There’s a difference between buying stylish clothes and actually looking stylish.
It’s subtle, but you’ll know it when you see it. Unfortunately, so does everyone else.
No matter how perfect your taste in fashion, it doesn’t make a difference if you don’t know how to accessorize.
The right accessories mean the difference between an outfit that’s confident and gorgeous and one that’s cheap and bland. But if your outfits don’t come together as easily as you want them to, you’re not alone! We’ve put together a guide to teach you how to accessorize and to add an effortless “wow” factor to every look. Keep reading to learn more.
Start With a Strong Base
Before you even pull accessories out of your closet, you’ll want to start with a strong foundation. Pull together an outfit in your desired style, and lay it out somewhere you can easily see every piece.
The best fashion stylists will keep an entire outfit on hand as they pick accessories, considering the base layer critically as they choose. This helps them keep in mind the design as a whole, and it also makes it easier to see how these design fundamentals play together:
Think about the main colors of your base outfit, and look for accessories that would match or complement these colors. Despite the popular advice that your shoes should match your handbag, you don’t necessarily need to be matchy-matchy—feel free to go for fresh and modern color pairings, including trending colors and styles.
If your base outfit is simple, you’ll want to add intricate details to take it to the next level. However, if it’s already got complex patterns, it’s best to style it with simpler accessories that don’t distract from the base look.
Playing with textures can add both tactile and visual interest to an ensemble. As you work on your look, consider the textures of your base outfit and any accessories you might pair it with.
If you prefer classic styles, you can play it safe by including a simple print in your outfit. Alternatively, feel free to follow the current trend of mixing and matching prints and patterns. Whatever you decide, a good print can add vital dimension to your outfit!
Considering how all of these fundamentals play together is key to finding outfits that elevate your style instead of dragging it down.
Stick to the Third Piece Rule
As you learn how to accessorize your outfit, it helps to start with the third piece rule.
According to this rule, you should always wear outfits of three pieces—and that doesn’t include your shoes. Your top and bottoms are the first and second pieces, and the third piece is some type of statement accessory. This could be a jacket, blazer, scarf, belt, or vest, or it might be a piece of interesting jewelry.
Ideal pieces will add something in the fundamental categories above, like a lacy scarf that adds texture or a bag that adds a pop of color.
The third piece rule is a good guideline for everyday wear in particular: no matter what you’re walking out of the house in, add at least one statement piece to help you look fashion-forward instead of bland.
Make Practical Pieces Work for You
Now you’re ready to start figuring out how to match accessories to your outfit! Here are some quick tips on adding some practical statement pieces to your clothes:
Statement belts can both flatter your waist as well as break up simpler outfits. Depending on your body type, you can also use them to enhance your natural waistline while adding contrast to your clothes.
Structured Purses and Totes
Keep these on hand for a metallic shine, sleek style, or quirky finish. The right bags can make your outfit look expensive and put-together.
Your arms should never be naked! Whether you opt for refined metal bracelets or chunky statement pieces, bracelets are an easy way to accessorize.
Provided the weather is right, a hat can add a little flair to otherwise drab outfits. As we head into fall and winter, don’t hesitate to add a hat for some extra warmth as well as a cool edge.
Even if you don’t accessorize much, you know sunglasses transform a look. Playing with the shape and size to add some classic romance or cool finish to an outfit. You’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right ones for your face shape, but from there it’s hard to go wrong!
The right dainty jewelry can help your look suddenly appear fancy and expensive. Also, smaller minimalist jewelry is a versatile way to add accessories to a daily look.
Alternatively, larger statement pieces add a touch of playful personality to your look. Because most statement pieces are relatively inexpensive, you can try different designs with different looks to play with textures, colors, and styles.
One Last Note: A Little Goes a Long Way
Accessories are there to help “punctuate” your outfit—not to compete with it. If your outfit has plenty going on, it’s a good idea not to distract from the existing style. Otherwise, you could come across as cheap or attention-seeking, which is the last thing you want!
Learn How to Accessorize the Right Way
As you play with the accessories in your closet (and spring for new ones), you’ll naturally learn how to accessorize in a style that works for you. The best accessories are the ones that make you feel beautiful and confident, no matter what anyone else says—but using these stylist tips can’t hurt! For more tips on style and fashion, jump over to our other posts.